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by Steve Countryman  
5/29/2013 / Christian Living

There are lies about forgiveness that have been around for centuries and continues to thrive to this very day! If anything, because of reality TV shows, they have grown in popularity over the past couple of decades. The lies are that revenge is sweet and forgiveness is for the weak. A lie that if you forgive someone that you are condoning their actions. That you are only giving them permission to do it all over again and continue to do it! That is not forgiveness but punishment. You are not their door mat! That would only be allowing yourself to be punished more, not resolving or trying to correct a wrong or allowing healing to occur.

It is no wonder that people of this generation are sicker, have more diseases and die suddenly. When you allow offenses and grudges to rule over your life you invite all of their friends of sickness and disease to set up residence in you! Sickness and disease entered this world WITH sin and are closely related to sinfulness. When you hold a grudge or stay offended with someone you allow their sin to cling to you. The longer it clings to you the more you will suffer not the one who did it to you. Holding a grudge or offense is a sin. Sickness and disease drains you of your strength and your energy and steals your health. That is why you always feel tired and lethargic when you get sick. Yes the body needs rest to recover from sickness but loss of energy is a side affect of it and is meant to keep you that way.

Matthew 18:21-33 21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?" 22 Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23 "Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26 "At this the servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' 27 The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28 "But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded. 29 "His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.' 30 "But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 "Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart."

People will use un-forgiveness as an excuse not to go to church, not to visit relatives or old friends and not to share God's love to others who "don't deserve it". They will allow un-forgiveness to dictate their emotions. "I don't FEEL like forgiving them." They will use un-forgiveness to justify their bad attitudes, grumpiness, ill-temper, anger, frustrations and even sinful lifestyles. Setting goals and qualifications for someone to receive your forgiveness is a dangerous thing. Did Jesus do the same to you for forgiving you your sins? Aren't you glad Jesus didn't! So if the Lord of ALL creation can forgive you, why don't you forgive others? Forgiveness is not about condoning their actions or condemning their behavior. Forgiveness is all about forgiving the person for all they did to you but hating the sin they committed. "Love the sinner but hate the sin." Forgiveness is not about forgetting but about loving them for being one of God's creation. You can love someone but not like them. The Bible doesn't tell you to like everyone but to LOVE your enemies! You can't love someone who you can't forgive! And I have no doubt that though God loves me more than I can ever imagine, I also know that He doesn't always like some things that I do! I don't even like some of the things I do!! God forgive me.

Forgiveness is not a feeling or an emotion but a command! So why is it that out of all of the people that have hurt us that there is still one that we all struggle the most with to forgive? That one is ourselves. We all need to forgive ourselves instead of allowing the enemy to use it against us. That is one of his weapons. To keep you trapped and stuck in your past, in your hurt and pain. It makes you ineffective, useless and stagnant as a Christian. To keep you re-living your past and to stay in a constant state of self-pity will keep God's love from saturating your heart and life. You blame yourself for things that were and were not your fault. It is by the grace of God that we find the strength to forgive others and to forgive ourselves. It is such a liberating feeling of peace to forgive and release. How much lighter your load becomes when God's love and forgiveness saturates your mind and your life! Forgiveness is where God's peace is truly found.

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